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Gouges: Iconic Artifacts of the Early Neolithic Period in Central Sudan

  • Katarína KapustkaEmail author
  • Lenka Lisá
  • Aleš Bajer
  • David Buriánek
  • Ladislav Varadzin
  • Lenka Varadzinová
Original Article

Abstract

Neolithic stone tool production in Sudan was quite diverse but exhibited high standards of production, as exemplified by the adze-like artifacts called “gouges”. Drawing on data from several sites in Jebel Sabaloka, and comparative data from Shaheinab and Sheikh el-Amin, our paper examines the economy of gouge production from a technological point of view. More specifically, we discuss the process of gouge production and distribution through the study of raw material sourcing and methods of manufacture. We determine that the Neolithic people of central Sudan preferred rhyolites for the manufacture of gouges and that the production was highly standardized. We also examine the implications of gouge production for understanding Neolithic social networks in the region.

Keywords

Neolithic Gouges Lithic economy Lithic technology Middle Nile Sudan 

Résumé

La production néolithique d’outils en pierre au Soudan était très variée mais respectait des normes technologiques élevées, comme en témoignent des artefacts en forme dherminette appelés «gouges». En utilisant des données de plusieurs sites à Jebel Sabaloka, et des données comparatives des sites de Shaheinab et de Sheikh el-Amin, notre article examine l’économie de la production de gouges d’un point de vue technologique. Plus spécifiquement, nous discutons du processus de production et de distribution des gouges, y compris l’approvisionnement en matière première et les méthodes de fabrication. Nous déterminons que le peuple néolithique du Soudan central a préféré les rhyolites pour la fabrication des gouges, et que la production était hautement standardisée. Nous examinons également les implications pour la compréhension des réseaux sociaux néolithiques dans la région.

Notes

Acknowledgments

We thank Abdelrahman Ali Mohamed (General Director of the National Corporation for Antiquities and Museums of the Sudan), Ghalia el-Nabi (Director of the Sudan National Museum in Khartoum), Sarah Abdulatif and other curators of the Sudan National Museum, and Víctor M. Fernández (Department of Prehistory, University Complutense of Madrid, Director of the Blue Nile Project). Our research would not have been possible without their help and cooperation.

Funding Information

The research for this paper was conducted as part of the Communities and resources in late prehistory of Jebel Sabaloka, central Sudan: from analysis to synthesis project supported by the Czech Science Foundation (no. GAČR 17-03207S). Our research was also supported by the Institute of Geology CAS, Prague RVO 67985831, and the Institute of Archaeology CAS, Prague RVO: 67985912.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Archaeology of the Czech Academy of Sciences, Prague, v. v. i.Prague 1Czech Republic
  2. 2.Institute of Geology of the Czech Academy of Sciences, v. v. i.Prague 6Czech Republic
  3. 3.Department of Geology and Pedology, Faculty of Forestry and Wood TechnologyMendel University in BrnoBrnoCzech Republic
  4. 4.Czech Geology SurveyBrnoCzech Republic
  5. 5.Czech Institute of EgyptologyFaculty of Arts, Charles UniversityPrague 1Czech Republic

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